Written by Hamish Knox; President of Sandler in Calgary, Canada
Creating accountable, sales focused organizations in Calgary
A common excuse heard from salespeople who aren’t progressing an opportunity with a prospect is “they’re a really nice guy (or gal).”
As David Sandler said, “sales isn’t a place to get your emotional needs met.”
The only valuables salespeople possess are their time and information and our prospects have learned to waste the former, through asking for proposals, presentations or bids, and get the latter for free, which we call “free consulting.”
You may have heard the cliché, “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” so of course prospects, who want our valuable information for free, are going to be “nice.” Being nice traps salespeople who seek to get their emotional needs met over selling and prompts them to say and do things that aren’t in their best interest, like saying “okay” to “call me in six months,” so they don’t “damage the relationship.”
I’ve heard plenty of stories from salespeople justifying why an opportunity is still in their pipeline six, nine or 12 months past when it should have closed because their prospect is “really nice.” What those salespeople weren’t willing to admit to themselves is they chose to take the lesser path at wimp junction because the stronger path would have required them to ask their prospect for a truth they didn’t want to hear.
An easy way to identify “nice” prospects is their inability to make firm, clear commitments to next steps. They will fall back on “call me some time,” “call me in X weeks/months” or “let me review and get back to you,” all while telling you how much they like you and find your products interesting.
When faced with a “nice” prospect keep in mind David Sandler’s rule, “close the sale or close the file.” In application that rule means that if your prospect is unwilling to commit to a firm, clear next step they aren’t a prospect at this time and you should move on. That doesn’t mean that you won’t work with that prospect in the future, but it does mean that keeping them in your pipeline only feeds your hopium addiction.
Until next time… go sell something.
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